Date: 28 February 2013, 4.00pm
Location: Seminar Room LG 17, Michael Sadler Building
As part of the on-going programme of Research Salons organised by CIGS, we are pleased to invite you to our next event which focuses on The History of Sexuality. Two papers will be given and there will be plenty of time for discussion of their content as well as of the broader issues reflecting debates on the History of Sexuality itself.
Queer Objects and Queer Intimacies in the Historic House
Alison Oram, Professor in Social and Cultural History, Leeds Metropolitan University
Historic houses frequently present domestic space “as if the family had just stepped out”, with the curatorial intention of making historic objects and interiors welcoming, approachable and accessible to a wide range of visitors including children and parents. Does this idea of ‘family’ inevitably imply a heteronormative household? In what ways have more challenging and complex histories of queer domesticities and alternative households (eg of unmarried siblings) been represented in historic houses (and in museums of the home)?
This paper will discuss the interpretation of rooms, objects and biographies at several historic homes whose inhabitants have been claimed for lesbian, gay and queer history, including Sissinghurst (Kent), Smallhythe (Kent), Charleston (Sussex), Shibden Hall (W Yorkshire), and Plas Newydd (Llangollen). By 2012-13, all of these sites published guidebooks which offered visitors some account of the queer intimacies of previous owners. However the presentation of the site and objects (such as collected ornaments, beds, personal possessions, gravestones, interior decoration, room layouts and guided tours) varies enormously in indicating queer heritage. This paper will discuss the recent development of the concept of “queer domesticity” by historians and geographers and how this might suggest ways of opening up the readings of such heritage spaces to visitors.
The Uses of the Body to Improve the Species: Portuguese eugenics as seen through the Boletim Geral das Colónias (1930-1960)
Dr. Richard Cleminson, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies/CIGS, University of Leeds
This paper seeks to examine discourse on eugenics in Portugal between the passing of the Colonial Act by the regime of António Oliveira de Salazar and the beginning of the wars of independence in Portugal’s African colonies in the 1960s. The ways in which eugenics was established as a force to organize bodies are examined in order to allow for an analysis of the key role that the body would play in the organization of the ‘biological resources’ of the nation, both in continental Portugal and the ‘overseas territories’ as conceived by the regime. The importance of organizing the colonial body and the management of miscegenation were mutual processes of construction and intervention by the state and the eugenics movement as means of guaranteeing an optimum species, the continuation of colonial power and as an attempt to satisfy discordant international voices calling for a revision of Portugal’s colonial role. In order to argue these hypotheses, this study will draw on a range of empirical sources, including the laws of the Salazar regime, the writings of Portuguese eugenists and, especially, reviews such as the Boletim Geral das Colónias.
(No knowledge of the Portuguese language is necessary)